Novartis again accused of kickbacks to McKesson

A former executive director of Novartis’ Health Economics and Outcomes Research Group, Min Amy Guo has filed a whistleblower lawsuit alleging that the way Novartis proposed awarding a contract to McKesson for a study of the cancer drug Afinitor was a form of kickbacks under the “disguise of research.”

Guo said in her suit that the project was proposed in 2012 and was going to take a month to complete but cost $400,000 and instead of a study of breast cancer, it was going to be overseen by the Oncology Scientific Operations Managed Markets group which she said focused on client interaction and not research.

Novartis has been accused previously of offering kickbacks. It paid $422 million in fines and civil penalties in 2010 to settle allegation that it offered kickbacks to doctors to increase prescriptions of its blood pressure drugs Diovan, Exforge and Tekturna

Novartis is also facing allegation in a separate pending suit that it provided discounts and rebates of up to 20 pharmacies to get them to switch kidney transplant patients to the transplant drug Myfortic.

Jeffrey Newman represents whistleblowers.